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Re: Cognitive Disability

From: Terje Bless <link@pobox.com>
Date: 08 Nov 2001 15:39:50 +0100
To: W3C WAI IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>, Jonathan Chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>
Message-Id: <1005230384.20033.40.camel@tux>
On Thu, 2001-11-08 at 14:39, Al Gilman wrote:
> At 08:10 AM 2001-11-08 , Terje Bless wrote:
> >
> >Hmmm, it occurs to me that this is likely to be the kind of
> >accessibility issue I'll have the hardest time understanding. Anyone
> >have any pointers to more information?
> > 
> AG::  My bookmark on this is stuck on the quick tour Simon Evans gave us at
>  <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ig/2001OctDec/0162.html>

Hmmm. _I_ have severe problems navigating the sites he referenced! Is this
an artifact of some sort of inverse cognitive disability effect at play?

I know pretty much nothing about cognitive disabilities, but I would have
guessed that it involved difficulty in understanding written language but
(depending on severity) an ability to connect cause and effect and to
recognize symbols, either through previously learned association or
through learning-by-exploring.

A common theme in all the sites referenced is use of line-drawings; mostly
ill done, primitive, and not particularly suggestive. Pages are visually
"noisy", with distracting animations, too many concepts per screen, and
multiple similar controls (some non-functional, some with non-obvious
effects). None seem to use general accessibility features such as @alt
text or link @title. To me, that is...

Is there some fundamental disconnect at work that makes these pages
work well for people with cognitive disabilities but which seems counter-
intuitive to me? If so, is it possible to extract a general set of rules
from that observation? Would studying generic literature in the field
help me understand the effects at work here better?

I work at a regional hospital so I may be able to draw on the expertise
of people who work in the field. Would talking to professionals in the
field be helpful? i.e. people without specific experience in computers
or web, but with broad experience with cognitive disabilities in general.
Are the issues sufficiently similar across mediums that I might be able
to adapt their experience and knowledge to a web interface?

Jonathan Chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com> wrote:

>what type of information are you looking for?

Anything that will give me a fighting chance to understand Cognitive
Disabilities in general (from 10,000 feet), and the needs of people
with various types and severities of such disabilities as relates to
web design. I'm completely blank on the subject -- as opposed general
accessibility where I at least have a fighting chance to understand
with the help of the WAI materials and a little help :-) -- and don't
really see any good way to attack the problem.

<http://www.learningdifficulty.org/> appears to give me some threads
to follow, and I'll try to study the sites Al referenced to see if I
can identify the mechanisms at work there.

 Thanks for the help, guys!
Received on Thursday, 8 November 2001 09:39:54 UTC

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